A recent incident in New Jersey is highlighting how the stress of the coronavirus is, apparently, bringing out the worst of some people. A math teacher at Steinert High School in Hamilton, New Jersey, was caught on video last week telling a group of teens playing football in a park that she thinks they should “die a long, painful death” from the coronavirus.
The woman has been identified as math teacher Nicole Griggs who, according to the district’s website, has been a teacher in the township for the last 15 years and taught middle school previous to high school.
Local newspaper the Trentonian reports that one of the teenagers, a freshman at Steinert, says he and a group of friends from school were playing football Thursday at the former Homedell School, on the 500 block of East Franklin Street, when Griggs appeared and yelled at them from the other side of a chain-link fence.
The encounter was captured on Snapchat by one of the teens and then sent to friends. Yet another student captured the exchange and posted it on TikTok, a social media platform that features videos that often go “viral.” The video was posted to TikTok with the caption, “Y’all Mrs Griggs is losing her d*** mind how tf is she a teacher #coronavirus.”
The encounter with Griggs seemed benign enough at first, with the teacher appearing to have concern for the teens and warning them that they may get arrested if they don’t leave the park that was officially closed.
Her temperament escalated, however, as she asked them if she needed to scream “loud enough so you can hear me over your music. Parks closed. You will get arrested if the cops come.”
When one of the teens asked her, “Wait, can we go over there?” Griggs seems to lose all patience for the situation and begins telling them to “go ahead” and record her and post it online because she isn’t the one committing wrong.
“Parks closed. The whole area,” Griggs yells. “Get it through your thick head. You are the reason we are in this situation. You are the problem, not the solution. Go ahead keep recording. Who are you going to show it to? Post me on social media. You’re the idiot doing the wrong thing. I’m just trying to save your ass and save your life. But die, OK. I hope both of you get the coronavirus. I hope you both die a long, painful death.”
The Trentonian reports:
The Steinert freshman said he hasn’t had a class with Griggs, but several of his friends recognized her and sent pictures that looked just like the woman in the video.
A second source confirmed it’s Griggs, who did not return phone messages seeking comment, in the video.
Griggs lives on the 500 block of Redfern Street, a tenth of a mile away from the park and well within walking distance, according to property records.
Apparently, this isn’t the first time Griggs has made known her disdain for those who refuse to follow the government’s draconian, unconstitutional lockdown orders.
The Trentonian reports that:
In an April 6 post on the Facebook page of Nikki Leigh, which Griggs appears to operate under an alias, she says: ‘We are surrounded by idiots!!!!!! Rode our bikes near Kuser Park this afternoon and what to [sic] we see but a younger couple with their daughter maybe 2/3 years old UNDOING the caution tape around the jungle gym so she could slide. I totally called them out on it, wished illness on them and commented that it was scary to even think they were parents. Their response: ‘We were going to put it back.’”
The Trentonian confirmed the Facebook page belongs to Griggs.
The Whitepages lists Griggs’ middle initial as L and has Deborah Griggs as one of her relatives.
Deborah Griggs, who indicates she used to work for the Hamilton Township Board of Education, lists Nikki Leigh as her daughter in the family section of Facebook.
One of the teens involved acknowledged they shouldn’t have been at the park but was nonetheless shocked that a teacher would wish death upon them.
“When she said that, I was shocked,” the student said. “I didn’t know someone would say something like that, especially a teacher. She should be smarter with her words.”
According to The Trentonian, Mayor Jeff Martin said while he was not informed on the video but he still condemned Grigg’s words. “No one, he said, should be ‘wishing death or harm on people.’”
“This is a very serious thing,” he said. “We’ve got at least 50 people who have actually died from it, 50 families. It’s not something to joke around about. Teacher or not, it’s unacceptable.”
It is unclear whether Griggs will face disciplinary action for her comments but the schools’ superintendent, Scott Rocco, issued a statement saying the district has been made aware of the video and they plan to investigate it.
“We will address the issue immediately,” he said in the statement.
This video is a perfect illustration of the way some Americans are beginning to feel entitled in pushing what they believe to be right on to other Americans, no matter how ugly they have to get. Is this the new normal?
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